Saturday, 17 July 2010

AllVoices: Iran Intensifies Attack on Christians

Iran has intensified its attacks on the Christian minority with the recent crackdown on the growing influence of the Protestant Churches in the country as it has condemned to death a well-known pastor.

This revelation is contained in a report by Open Doors UK adding that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is facing execution after two judges agreed to make him ‘liable to capital punishment.’

It noted that Pastor Nadarkhani was detained in June along with his wife, Fatemeh Pasandideh, in the northwestern city of Rasht, because of their Christian activities.

“A senior pastor of the Church of Iran movement said that judges had ‘already signed’ an Islamic order that would potentially allow a death sentence for Nadarkhani, pending further investigations,” the report said.

It observed that the news of Pastor Youcef’s arrest overshadowed the joy over the release of several other Christians, including two Church of Iran believers and two, identified only as ‘Brothers Mehdi and Afshin’.

According to the report, they were part of a group of eight believers arrested last month adding that one, Fatemeh Kojouri Tork, remains in Tehran's notorious Evin prison, while her husband, Behrouz Sadegh Khanjani, who was one of a group of seven arrested on 11 January, is still being kept in isolation in a security prison in the southwestern city of Shiraz.

It stated: “Concerns remain over the wellbeing of a number of other believers, including Pastor Behnam who remains in detention.”

It continued: “Over the last decade the Iranian church has grown significantly and Open Doors now estimates the total number of Christians in Iran to be about 450,000. The government has intentionally sought to stop this growth and make it impossible for Christians to practice their religion.”

The report said that, although churches connected to minority groups, such as Armenians and Assyrians, are allowed to teach their own people in their own language, it is forbidden to minister to people with a Muslim background i.e. speaking Farsi.

“Please pray and ask God to strengthen these persecuted Christians physically, emotionally and spiritually, so that they will be a ‘light in the darkness.’ Also thank God that despite the horrendous circumstances for Christians in Iran and the opposition they face from the government that the church is growing. Pray for the house church movement, which is responsible for much of the growth of the church, ask God to protect its leaders and give them wisdom and understanding.”

As a Christian organization Open Doors provides Bibles, Christian literature, training and practical support to the persecuted church worldwide. It’s the world's largest outreach to persecuted Christians, working in the most high-risk places.

Fore more information on their other activities log on to their website:

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